Aug 29 2014

Obituary: Bill Kerr

billkerrBill Kerr, veteran actor from radio, stage, film and television, has died at his home in Western Australia at the age of 92.

Born into a Australian showbiz family on tour in South Africa in 1922, Kerr made his stage debut at only a few weeks of age — replacing a doll that his mother had been using on stage as a prop.

Growing up in Wagga Wagga, he became a child actor in early Australian films in the 1930s but got his big break in the 1950s in the British radio series Hancock’s Half-Hour where he played a dim-witted Australian sidekick.

He continued to work in the United Kingdom on stage, film and television, including roles in Benny Hill, Comedy Playhouse and Doctor Who.

He came back to Australia in the 1970s with roles in TV series Father Dear Father In Australia, Run From The Morning, Glenview High, The Young Doctors, Trial By Marriage and later Sons And Daughters.

He later appeared in telemovie Relatives and mini-series including 1915, Return To Eden, A Fortunate Life, Anzacs, The Heroes, The Private War Of Lucinda Smith, The River Kings and Snowy.

Kerr’s last TV credits included Minty, Ship To Shore, The Shark Net and Changi.

Source: The West Australian, IMDB, Classic Australian TV



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Aug 26 2014

1994: August 27-September 2

tvweek_270894Daniel’s lonely road to stardom
When you’re Home And Away‘s latest heart-throb it can be easy to let your ego get ahead of you, but 15-year-old Daniel Amalm (pictured with co-star Laura Vasquez), who plays Jack, is playing it cool. “If you are not careful you can let it go to your head,” he told TV Week. “That wouldn’t be a good thing because once you start believing you’ve hit the big time, it affects your work. The fact is, I realise I’m an extremely lucky boy to have this job, and I’m treating it as a wonderful learning experience.” Amalm, who left his friends and family behind in Brisbane when he moved to stay with a family in Sydney for Home And Away, is also finding stardom a bit of a lonely experience. “The thing with this show is everyone is 18 or older, so it’s hard to make good mates. They aren’t wanting to go to the movies, they’re more into nightclubs or pubs, and I can’t go there. I’m still a kid really, although I can’t act like one around here because I’m in a working world.” He laughs at rumours that the producers of the US hit series Baywatch are interested in him. “It’s a nice idea. I don’t know where it’s come from, but it would be great.”

Digging up Uncle Arthur!
Four years after the demise of The Comedy Company, comedian Glenn Robbins is still finding there is demand for his comic creation, Uncle Arthur. Although Robbins has resisted the temptation to bring back the character, he is considering a proposal to revive Uncle Arthur in an unlikely pairing with Nine‘s Burke’s Backyard. “I never walked away from the character saying I’d never do him again,” Robbins told TV Week. “I have been approached to do regular work as Uncle Arthur on Burke’s Backyard. Don (Burke) suggested it would be a lot of fun to have the character in his show, but I explained to him that I’ve got Jimeoin to work on and that we’d talk later.” As well as working on Jimeon, Robbins is also filming a pilot for a new comedy show for Seven later in the year.

monicatrapagaMonica has a dip at prime time
Singer Monica Trapaga (pictured), currently a favourite with Play School‘s young viewers, is making the change to prime time to talk to a more grown up audience. In the 13-part series Living In The Nineties, Trapaga is host and reporter as the show tackles the issues facing the decade, whether it be financial, sexual, social, corporate or domestic. “Play School‘s very regimented, although it changes every day and you’re doing different scripts. Hosting a prime-time magazine style show, there’s none of the props. You’re stripped of your costume and stripped of your partner and your toys,” she told TV Week. “But I’m not there to be the voice of knowledge or the experienced social guru. I’m just there to present a point of view. I think that’s my only conflict with Living In The Nineties. I’m supposed to be a serious kind of anchorwoman, and that’s a bit difficult because I’m not a particularly serious person.”


  • Nine‘s Midday host Derryn Hinch is making a return to the big screen — as himself. He will be appearing in the short film Hell, Texas And Home, which is being filmed in Sydney and Broken Hill. “The last movie I did was more than 10 years ago called Bullamakanka. It was an all-star effort in which I played a hood with Peter Russell-Clarke and Gordon Elliott. It resurfaces every five years or so on late-night television to haunt me.” Despite its minuscule budget, Hell, Texas And Home also stars Aden Young, Claudia Karvan, Steve Bisley and Max Cullen. Hinch says he has offered his services to the student filmmakers free of charge. “I think it’s important to help support the rising talent we have in this country.”
  • alandale_0001Former Neighbours star Alan Dale (pictured) is making his return to TV in a very different role — playing the part of a barrister in the first episode of ABC‘s Janus. “It’s the first time I’ve played a lawyer, and it’s the first time I’ve worked for the ABC,” he told TV Week. “I really enjoyed making Janus and I’m looking forward to seeing it myself.” Meanwhile, Dale is back in his native New Zealand, starring in an 18-part police drama, Plain Clothes. “I haven’t been back here to work since I left in 1979,” he said. “It’s interesting, but it’s a bit strange because a lot of things are different.”
  • Ally Fowler says her role as Jacquie Rushcutter in Law Of The Land will surely quash her reputation for “girl next door”-type roles. Jacquie has been engaged to Derrick, who is never seen by viewers, for eight years. All we know about Derrick is that he is good in bed. “Jacquie is always telling Kate (Lisa Hensley) what great sex she has with Derrick, so he’s obviously quite amazing from that point of view,” Fowler told TV Week.
  • robinramsayActor Robin Ramsay (pictured), best remembered for playing resident nasty Charlie Cousins in Bellbird, has returned to Australia after six years of touring his one-man show, The Bastard From The Bush, playing the part of legendary Australian author Henry Lawson. He is now set to take the show around Australia, starting in Melbourne, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Lawson’s first book, Short Stories In Verse And Prose.
  • Newlyweds star Cathy Godbold is starring in her first play, Falling From Grace, at Melbourne’s Playbox Theatre before touring nationally. Also starring in the play is actress Catherine Wilkin.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

Janus is far more than just a Phoenix sequel. Janus has its population of coppers and crims, but now they’re joined by silks and beaks, barristers, instructors and tipstaff. All are part of a landscape on which a year of prosecutions against a notorious criminal family, the Hennesseys, takes places simultaneously with a shake-up of the system itself. The description “courtroom drama” sells Janus short. The series moves from the seedy to the successful, from Hennessey haunts to barristers’ backrooms. And it looks at broader issues such as the prohibitive cost of legal proceedings. The early episodes of Janus see some stand-out performances from Chris Haywood, as the chain-smoking, maverick defence barrister Michael Kidd, Louise Siversen as magistrate Glenda de Bono, Leverne McDonnell as undercover policewoman Jan Murray and Paulene Terry-Beitz as the Hennessey family matriarch, Shirl. I was astounded to learn that Janus is Terry-Beitz’s first time in front of the television cameras.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, August 27-September 2):
Saturday: Live coverage of the Commonwealth Games continues (7am to 5pm, Ten) with evening highlights including live coverage of the women’s marathon (7pm to 3am).

Sunday: The Commonwealth Games continues with live coverage (7am to 5pm, Ten) and evening highlights including live coverage of the men’s marathon (7.30pm to 3am). Sunday AFL includes Brisbane Bears versus Hawthorn (2pm, Seven), live from Brisbane, followed by Adelaide Crows versus Essendon (5.30pm, Seven), live from Adelaide. Sunday night movies are Prophet Of Evil: The Ervil Le Baron Story (Seven) and Jennifer 8 (Nine).

Monday: The men’s wheelchair marathon and closing ceremony mark the end of the Commonwealth Games (6am, Ten), with evening highlights (7.30pm, Ten). Children’s series Ocean Girl (4.30pm, Ten) makes its debut. In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), the Willis family is concerned about Pam’s (Sue Jones) hasty decision to resign from her job. In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Shane (Dieter Brummer) learns that fatherhood isn’t as easy as he thought it would be.

Tuesday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Angel (Melissa George) resolves to find her younger sister. The one-hour special Hey Hey By Request (8pm, Nine) takes a look at some of Hey Hey It’s Saturday‘s favourite moments and includes a special appearance by former co-host Jacki MacDonald. In GP (8.30pm, ABC), Tessa (Marilynne Paspaley) is involved in a sexual harassment charge when her colleague, Jessica (Lenita Vangellis) reveals her distress at the attention she is receiving from her boss, a highly respected surgeon. Ten begins its post-Commonwealth Games revamp with debuts for US series Mad About You (8pm) and Models Inc (8.30pm) — the latter starring Cameron Daddo.

Wednesday: In Heartbreak High (7.30pm, Ten), Danielle (Emma Roche) gets into trouble when she decides to try modelling, and Con’s (Salvatore Coco) relationship with Greta (Andrea Moor) is a little strained.

Thursday: The new magazine series Living In The Nineties (8pm, ABC) looks at contemporary social issues such as redefining the family, workplace security, gender wars and parenting. In the series debut of Janus (8.30pm, ABC), a city reels in shock as members of one of the country’s most notorious criminal families walk free, acquitted of shooting two young policemen — one fatally.

Friday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Tug (Tristan Bancks) makes an important decision about his future. In Rex Hunt’s The Great Outdoors (7.30pm, Seven), Bridget Adams explores the Bungle Bungles and demonstrates an easy-to-assemble bed perfect for sleeping outdoors; and guest reporter Andrew Daddo rides his motorbike to Bateman’s Bay through Old Mogo Town to an overnight stay at Narooma. Friday AFL includes delayed coverage of Collingwood versus Hawthorn (9.30pm, Seven) at the MCG.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 27 August 1994. Southdown Press




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Aug 20 2014

1994: August 20-26

tvweek_200894Cover: Jo Beth Taylor (Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show)

Bell rings in the changes!
Former Neighbours and E Street star Melissa Bell is back in Australia after a stint in the United Kingdom that was soured by legal and financial troubles. “I came back because I was having such a dreadful time. My manager was saying I owed her money and I was saying she owed me money as well,” she told TV Week. “It ended up costing me a lot of money because I had to get a good lawyer, a new accountant, so things did go wrong.” Since returning to Australia she has starred in Paradise Beach and has upcoming appearances in GP, The Great Outdoors and Over The Hill. She is also co-author of book that tells the story of a teen’s troubled times as a soap actor trying to make it big. “People will see themselves mirrored in the novel’s characters,” she told TV Week. “It’s about a girl, about 18, who gets into the industry, gets on a good-rating show and goes overseas, and it’s about the pitfalls. It’s not autobiographical. It’s fiction… but it does have bite.”

raeleehill_0001Raelee’s a blooming nuisance!
Former Paradise Beach star Raelee Hill (pictured) feels lucky to have landed a long-term role so soon after the axing of Paradise Beach. “I’ve had the best run, and been very lucky,” she told TV Week. “I finished Paradise Beach and fell into Blue Heelers and now Neighbours!” Hill joins Neighbours as free-spirited Serendipity Gottlieb, sister of Mark (Bruce Samazan). “In the early days she’ll come across as a bit of a mess because she has to hold on to the views of her parents, and that’s a very alternate upbringing. This attitude clashes with Mark’s nature because he hasn’t really held on to his parents’ philosophies,” she said. Samazan says that Mark is a little shocked at her arrival. “He finds out she’s still the same pain in the bum and she’s come back to cause a bit more havoc,” he said.

Floating on air
While his brothers Lochie (on Getaway) and Cameron (on new US series Models Inc) are being hyped up, Andrew Daddo is quietly settling in at the Seven Network, where he has been signed up as a “floater” while the network finds an ongoing project for him. He is currently waiting on the green light for a variety pilot he made back in January. “They asked me what I wanted to do and I told them fairly creative new TV,” he told TV Week. “It’s just a matter now of seeing what comes up.”


  • Deborra-Lee Furness is the latest cast signing for Seven‘s new series Fire. She will be joining Peter Phelps, Georgie Parker, Andy Anderson, Shane Connor and Taylor Kane in the series about a team of firefighters.
  • Heartbreak High newcomer Alexandra Brunning seems to be impressing all on set with her portrayal of toffee-nosed schoolgirl Lucy. “We’re predicting big things for Alexandra,” a spokesperson told TV Week.
  • Damian Walshe-Howling is Blue Heelers‘ latest cast addition. His character, Constable Adam Cooper, is set to rub the other officers up the wrong way with his cocky attitude.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

“While it revels in the high ratings the Commonwealth Games should bring over the next two weeks, Network Ten will be putting the finishing touches to what basically amounts to its own re-invention. On the face of it, Ten will have an uphill battle — it doesn’t appear to have too many hidden big guns and, as sure as there will be lots of running, jumping and swimming in Victoria, Canada, during the next fortnight, you can bet the opposition won’t be resting on its laurels after the closing ceremony, either. After the Games comes (Aaron) Spelling’s glitzy new Models Inc. As you might have seen from the promos, it’s the world of the supermodels and the superstuds. I would add “and the superficial”, but that’s never stopped any television series working in the past. I hold higher hopes for Mad About You, a sitcom from the makers of another of Ten’s brightest lights, Seinfeld. From the “quality drama” stable comes another series of Picket Fences, the show about the quirks of life in Rome, Wisconsin. While it will have confidence in some of its new imports, the local horizon looks particularly bleak for Ten. Neighbours continues to hang in there, although it is being thumped in Sydney; the rescue of A Country Practice after it was tipped overboard by Seven has been a mistake; and Heartbreak High for all its verve and freshness, is pulling figures in the lower teens than most of the student population.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, August 20-26):
Commonwealth Games: Ten’s telecast of the XV Commonwealth Games from Victoria, Canada, includes daily coverage from 7am through to 5pm with highlights packages from 7.30pm (7.00pm on Saturday) to 12.30am.

Saturday: Seven has an afternoon marathon for Get Smart fans, including a compilation of “best” episodes of the classic sitcom plus the 1989 movie Get Smart Again! Game show Man O Man (7.30pm, Seven) returns for its second series.

Sunday: Sunday AFL includes Brisbane Bears v Footscray (2pm, Seven), live from Brisbane, followed by highlights of Carlton v West Coast Eagles (5pm, Seven). Andrew Daddo hosts the first of the two-part series The World’s Greatest TV Commercials (8pm, Seven). Sunday night movies are Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Seven) and The Last Boy Scout (repeat, Nine).

Monday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Tug (Tristan Bancks) is over the moon when Alf (Ray Meagher) gives his business venture a second chance. In Talk To The Animals (7.30pm, Seven), Pamela Graham looks at the Fijian crested iguana, Jane Holmes talks to bird watching enthusiasts about the species found in Antarctica, and Mike Lester visits England and meets a couple who have founded a hospital for injured wildlife.

terryserio_0001Tuesday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Selina (Tempany Deckert) arrives back in town and is horrified to find Jack (Daniel Amalm) with another woman. Larry Emdur hosts Funniest Commercials You’ll Ever See (8pm, Nine). Terry Serio (pictured) guest stars in GP (8.30pm, ABC) as an ex-prisoner.

Wednesday: Science and technology series Quantum (8pm, ABC) returns. Classic 1970s cop series Bluey gets a late-night re-run (11.35pm, Seven).

Thursday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Shane (Dieter Brummer) and Angel (Melissa George) hit panic stations when Dylan (Jay Patterson) locks himself in the car.

Friday: In Rex Hunt’s The Great Outdoors (7.30pm, Seven), guest reporter Melissa Bell visits a horse-riding school, Bridget Adams goes diving off the coast of Seal Rocks to observe grey nurse sharks, and bush cook Andrew Dwyer goes to Queen Victoria Market to buy fresh food to take on camping trips. Friday night AFL includes delayed coverage of North Melbourne v Fitzroy (9.30pm, Seven) from the MCG.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 20 August 1994. Southdown Press




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Aug 20 2014

Seven to cover 2018 Commonwealth Games

7_2000sThe Seven Network has signed a deal to secure the Australian media rights to the XXI Commonwealth Games, to be held on the Gold Coast in 2018.

The deal, which comes just after the network secured rights to the Olympic Games through to 2020, includes all rights in Australia including free-to-air broadcast television and subscription television rights, online, mobile and social media, and radio, and expands to Seven’s digital platforms, including online and Hybrid Broadband Broadcast Television (HbbTV).

It will be the first time Seven has covered the Commonwealth Games since Manchester in 2002.

In a media statement issued by Seven, Kerry Stokes AC, Chairman of Seven West Media, said:

“We’re delighted to be building a partnership with the Commonwealth Games. We are looking forward to working with the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Commonwealth Games Corporation on the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Importantly, our agreements with the International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games allow our business to support Australian athletes across both the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games over the coming decade, and importantly for our business, these partnerships will play a key role in defining and building our media presence.”

Commonwealth Games Federation CEO, Mike Hooper, said:

“The CGF is delighted to renew our relationship with Seven knowing it will ensure the widest possible coverage across the country when Australia again plays host to the Games on the Gold Coast in 2018. Seven’s commitment, coming off the success of Glasgow, illustrates the enduring appeal and bright future of the Commonwealth Games as we look ahead to 2018 on the Gold Coast and beyond.”

The last Commonwealth Games to have been held in Australia was Melbourne in 2006.

Source: Seven West Media




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Aug 15 2014

1994: August 13-19

tvweek_130894Cover: Nicole Kidman

Heelers heals Richard’s blues
After a year of unemployment, former E Street and Neighbours star Richard Huggett was so keen to work he even accepted a six-week role on the ill-fated soap Paradise Beach. “I hadn’t done anything for a year,” he told TV Week. “I suppose I took it because it just meant work. In the end, I had a great time doing it.” Viewers will soon see him in a guest role in Blue Heelers, playing the part of detective Sean Neale, who arrives in Mount Thomas to assist in a rape investigation. “This character I’m playing is very methodical and logical,” he said. “I like this show because it forces you to think a bit. After working for so long on soaps, these scripts are amazing.”

Hanna is jail bait!
Law Of The Land star Tessa Humphries, who plays femme fatale Hanna Scott, is remarkably calm about her steamy sex scene in the series. She credits co-star Angelo D’Angelo, who plays prosecutor Marc Rosetti, for making the potentially difficult scene bearable. “Love and sex scenes are so much easier if they can be carefully orchestrated and you can talk them through with the other person before shooting,” she told TV Week. “The other thing that’s very critical is the crew, and I felt very comfortable in the environment they created for us.” The scene is the culmination of Hanna’s flirting with the prosecutor. Hanna has broken a few laws and Marc is forced to deal with her — and then Hanna manages to lock him in the police cell. That’s when they go further.

Britain goes bananas!
B1 and B2 — the Bananas In Pyjamas — have now become Australian television’s biggest export. With a third series now screening on ABC and their books and video on the best-seller list, Bananas In Pyjamas is now screening on the ITV network in the United Kingdom and pre-school audiences there are just as keen on the pair as their Australian fans are. But despite their international fame B1 and B2 are still happy to live in Cuddles Avenue, although B2 says that they did stay at Noddy’s house and made use of his car when taking in the sights of London recently. Their connection to Noddy is closer than many may suspect. Noddy was created by children’s author Enid Blyton, and it was her nephew, Carey Blyton, who devised the original Bananas In Pyjamas song which has featured in Play School since the early Seventies and inspired the Bananas In Pyjamas series.


  • The new host of Nine‘s Saturday morning What’s Up Doc? is Wonder World reporter Catriona Rowntree (pictured). Rowntree is juggling her commitments to both shows, commuting to Melbourne for weekly tapings of What’s Up Doc?, as well as working on weekends on radio Triple J. Former What’s Up Doc? host Danielle Fairclough has left the show to pursue an acting career. “I don’t know what I’ll do next, but I’d like it to be something a bit more challenging,” Fairclough told TV Week. “What’s Up Doc? was great, but it didn’t require me to learn scripts or work 14-hour days like I used to.”
  • The Seven Network is working on a potential new lifestyle show. Actress Noni Hazlehurst has hosted a pilot which is now with Seven executives for consideration. “If it goes ahead, it probably won’t be on before the end of the year,” a Seven spokesperson said.
  • Garry McDonald is set to play the part of a self-absorbed radio announcer in an upcoming episode of GP. He will play Gazza Weller, a character who uses humour to hide his feelings. Melissa Bell will play his daughter, who suffers from depression. Also coming soon to GP is Deborra-Lee Furness who plays the role of the sister of a woman dying of breast cancer.
  • Seven Network game show Man O Man is returning soon with more contestants ready to risk being dumped in the pool!

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

“A quick chat on the telephone with Alison Nisselle, co-creator and writer of the TV Week Logie Award-winning series Phoenix, confirmed my fears. She was, she agreed, doomed to spend more time explaining the title of her new series, Janus, than the plotlines… and, believe me, they can be just a tad complex. It appears that, even before the series has made its debut on the ABC, Nisselle and others behind the scenes of Janus are being queried frequently about the title. Janus is (was?) the Roman god from whose name the word January derives. He is regarded as presiding over beginnings and endings, which explains why the first month of the year takes its name from him. Janus is to be unveiled on 1 September.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, August 13-19):
Saturday: In A Country Practice (5.30pm, Ten), Maggie Sloan’s (Joan Sydney) world is sent spinning when her husband returns to Wandin Valley with intentions to settle down. Steve Vizard and Jimeoin guest star in the series return of Attitude (7.30pm, ABC). No sooner has Frontline finished its run but it is now beginning a repeat run (8pm, ABC).

Sunday: Sunday afternoon AFL includes Sydney Swans versus Carlton (1pm, Seven), live from Sydney, followed by Adelaide Crows versus Brisbane Bears (3.30pm, Seven), live from Adelaide. Sunday night movies are Captain Ron (Seven), Double Jeopardy (Nine) and Home Alone (repeat, Ten).

richardfitzgeraldjaneholmesMonday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Helen (Anne Haddy) is arrested on suspicion of trafficking in illegal substances. In Talk To The Animals (7.30pm, Seven), Richard Fitzgerald and Jane Holmes (pictured) are in Antarctica and introduce a tiny animal which is the main food for larger animals, and Jane speaks to an expert about the penguins in Antarctica, while Richard speaks to an expert on the seals there.

Tuesday: In Blue Heelers (7.30pm, Seven), when a rape occurs in Mount Thomas, PJ (Martin Sachs) thinks he knows who the culprit is. Interview series Ray Martin Presents (8.30pm, Nine) features British comedian and writer Ben Elton.

heydadWednesday: Gordon Bray hosts coverage of the Bledisloe Cup — Australia versus New Zealand — live from the Sydney Football Stadium (7pm, Ten). The final ever episode of Hey Dad! (8pm, Seven) sees a bank robber (played by Bill Conn, pictured with Ben Oxenbould) on the run taking the household hostage.

Thursday: In Beyond 2000 (7.30pm, Ten), reports on the latest in music video technology from the makers of MTV‘s liquid effects; putting brains on ice to increase the chances of survival for CPR recipients; and saving 2000-year-old archaeological treasures. In the series final of The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh (8.30pm, ABC), an attempted assassination shocks Australia.

timwebsterannefulwoodFriday: Tim Webster and Anne Fulwood (pictured) host live coverage of the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games from Victoria, Canada (9am, Ten). Highlights of the opening ceremony and previews of the upcoming sports and commentators are broadcast from 7.30pm. In Rex Hunt’s The Great Outdoors (7.30pm, Seven), footballer Chris Mainwaring visits to tiny ghost town of Cossack on the Pilbara coast, Penny Cook visits Dubbo Zoo, and Frankie J Holden goes bargain hunting at the colourful Camberwell trash and treasure market.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 13 August 1994. Southdown Press




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Aug 08 2014

1994: August 6-12

tvweek_060894Ann’s tearful farewell
The pressures of life as a policeman’s wife leads to Blue Heelers character Roz Patterson (Ann Burbrook, pictured) making an exit from the series. The storyline has Roz at breaking point, having already been affected by husband Wayne’s (Grant Bowler) recent shooting incident, as Wayne goes to investigate a domestic incident and she hears gunshots. “She goes through this incredible nightmare of not knowing whether Wayne is alive or dead,” Burbrook told TV Week. “It’s a hard and tough episode. I bawled when I read the script and was crying all over the place when we were shooting.”

Hey, that’s a wrap!
After eight years and 291 episodes, the curtain has come down on Australia’s longest running sitcom, Hey Dad! The cast were given a standing ovation from the studio audience, some of whom had been to up to 90 tapings. Despite the tears from the cast there was plenty of laughter, plus the appearance in the studio of former cast members Sarah Monahan, Simone Buchanan and Christopher Truswell. The final episode sees the household held hostage by a gun-toting bank robber (Bill Conn) while police surround the house and helicopters buzz the skies overhead. “It went out on a high as far as I’m concerned,” co-creator and writer John Flanagan told TV Week. “Everybody still feels good about the show, everybody still likes it and it’s still funny.”

drfeelgoodLet’s talk about sex
This week the Seven Network launches a new Saturday night series, Dr Feelgood, discussing sex, romance and relationships — but anyone looking for cheap voyeurism is set to be disappointed, according to Dr Feelgood (who as a practising doctor can’t use her real name). “I think everyone wants to talk about sex,” she told TV Week. “But I won’t have anything to do with it being sleazy or being slimy. We won’t be baulking any issues, but I’m not interested in shock value or sex just for ratings. I am a practising doctor and I have a standing in the medical community to uphold.” Dr Feelgood (pictured) has also hosted a national talkback radio program and been a regular guest on Bert Newton‘s Good Morning Australia.


  • Seven Network insiders say it’s only a matter of time before Stan Grant is replaced as host of current affairs show Real Life. “Something has to change to improve the show’s ratings,” the source said. “Seven is realising it will have to bite the bullet with Stan, too, if they want to survive through 1995.”
  • Sophie Lee is working with Rebecca Gibney, Marcus Graham and Andrew McFarlane on the first of six Halifax fp telemovies. Lee plays Corri Neale, a young patient who is infatuated with her psychiatrist, played by McFarlane.
  • Original Neighbours stars Elaine Smith and Stefan Dennis are to be reunited in the upcoming stage production of Blood Brothers. It is the first time they’ve worked together since Smith left Neighbours in 1988.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

“I was going to tell you all about what happens in the two-hour season finale of that worldwide phenomenon Beverly Hills 90210. I dutifully sat through the tape provided but, not being a weekly devotee of the series, I only found myself becoming more and more confused.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, August 6-12):
Saturday: Mal Walden hosts a one-hour special, ATV 30th Anniversary (4.30pm, Ten), commemorating thirty years of the station that was launched in 1964 as ATV0. 

Sunday: Australia takes on Western Samoa in the Rugby Union (2.30pm, Ten) from Sydney Football Stadium. Sunday AFL includes Brisbane Bears v Melbourne (1pm, Seven), live from Brisbane, followed by Sydney Swans v Fitzroy (3.30pm, Seven), live from Sydney. Sunday night movies are Circle Of Deceit (Seven), Skylark (Nine) and the debut of two-part mini-series Menendez: A Killing In Beverly Hills (Ten).

Monday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Fisher (Norman Coburn) is horrified to discover there is a cheat in the school.

Tuesday: In Blue Heelers (7.30pm, Seven), Roz’s (Ann Burbrook) life is changed when she is a telephone witness to a shooting being attended to by husband Wayne (Grant Bowler). In GP (8.30pm, ABC), William (Michael Craig) faces a moral dilemma when he confirms a patient’s pregnancy — Janie Morris (Cate Blanchett) is unmarried, but lives with her brother as if they were.

Wednesday: In Hey Dad! (8pm, Seven), Greg’s (Mark Owen-Taylor) father, Charles (Barry Crocker) arrives unexpectedly. Documentary Concrete City (8.30pm, SBS) looks at the struggle of residents of Sydney’s inner suburb of Pyrmont.

Thursday: Getaway (7.30pm, Nine) presents a USA special, as Lochie Daddo drives from the east to west coast in search of the ultimate road trip, and Jeff Watson has a users guide to New York, San Francisco and the Grand Canyon. In The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh (8.30pm, ABC), Harvey (Aaron Blabey) discovers the shocking truth behind the Minister’s (Philip Quast) interest in him.

Friday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Jack’s (Daniel Amalm) musical talents land him a busking job at the Diner. In Rex Hunt’s The Great Outdoors (7.30pm, Seven), Bridget Adams visits the picturesque town of Windsor, Penny Cook joins 700 bike riders on the Great Ocean Bike Race along the Victorian coast, and guest reporter Monica Trapaga goes to a city kindergarten which is visited by a mobile animal farm.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 6 August 1994. Southdown Press





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Aug 06 2014

1994: July 30-August 5

tvweek_300794Cover: Kim Basinger

Georgie’s hot new role!
The hunt for the female lead for Seven‘s new series Fire is over. Former A Country Practice star Georgie Parker has been confirmed for the role of Morgan Cartwright, the new firefighter in the squad who is forced to join an arson investigation which points to one of her colleagues in the brigade as a serial pyromaniac. Also joining the cast is Peter Phelps, last seen in Heartbreak High, Liddy Clark and Taylor Kane. Fire will be filmed in Brisbane and screen on Seven next year.

krismcquadeKris clicks in GP
Actor Kris McQuade (pictured) feels the frustration common with most actors — bouts of unemployment outweighing the number of roles — but a guest role as a photographer in GP has given her a boost. “I’ve been working about once a year as an actor. The last couple of years have been very grim, but hopefully things are going to pick up,” she told TV Week. The acting work that McQuade has managed to pick up has been overseas. “The trouble is, no-one sees it here so they think you’re dead and buried. For example, I did the BBC series The Boys From The Bush. Seven stuck the first episode on in a non-ratings period, played another six, and then took it off without telling anyone. Yet it played to 53 million people in Britain.”

Tony’s anchored to the studio
After five years travelling Asia as ABC‘s Asian correspondent, Tony Eastley is now adjusting to a much different environment as host of ABC’s First Edition news program. “I was used to being out in the field, and it’s very strange coming to a studio where you are totally restricted,” he told TV Week. “When I went overseas, I got caught in some big riots in India. I was terrified. A guy near me got shot in the eye. I was appalled by it. You get used to seeing those things, but it doesn’t make them any less shocking.” Presenting the early morning news has given him some different challenges. “I never got up at 3.10 in the morning! You can’t look like a nightmare when you get to work and that’s a nuisance, because you have to be presentable to the public.”


  • Foreign Correspondent host George Negus says he couldn’t care less if the opposition beats him to a story. “I’ve never had a scoop mentality,” he told TV Week. A recent Foreign Correspondent story featuring a husband-and-wife diplomat team who orchestrated the Middle East peace agreement didn’t impress one former colleague. “Jana Wendt‘s family and mine are pretty good friends, and I got a message from her that basically said, ‘You bastard, you got to those two before we did!’. I think she wanted it for her American show.” Negus has recently re-signed to Foreign Correspondent which means putting other projects on hold. “I harangued the commercial networks long enough to try and get them to do an international program. I believe that in current affairs, particularly with international stuff, commercial networks short-change their audience. The current preoccupation with lifestyle programs is testament to that.”
  • Nine Network sitcom The Bob Morrison Show will not be renewed beyond the end of its first season. But while it’s usually the network that axes a show, this time it’s the producers, Telltale Films. Despite attempts by Nine to renew for another 13 episodes the producers feel they’ve exhausted the concept.
  • The Great OutdoorsErnie Dingo has signed up for a guest role in Heartbreak High. He will be playing the part of a basketball coach but won’t be seen on screen until next year.
  • Andrew Daddo has joined the Seven Network stable as a “network” personality, taking on odd jobs around the station. His first job will be hosting a two-part series, The World’s Funniest Commercials, followed by a three week stint on The Great Outdoors.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

“There was a lot to like — if not exactly love — about the first series of Law Of The Land, and that applies even more so to this second 13 hours. Now screening on the Nine Network, the second Roadshow Coote & Carroll-produced series somehow has a harder edge, a better sense of purpose. Lisa Hensley‘s Kate Chalmers still provides the occasional far-away stare at the camera to end a scene (you know, that stare they sent up so unmercifully in the Fast Forward sketch Dumb Street), but, in the main, Law Of The Land has graduated to above-average, if not riveting, television fare.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, July 30-August 5):
Saturday: In A Country Practice (5.30pm, Ten), Claire (Claudia Black) tries to reunite a young family.

laurenhewettSunday: In Halfway Across The Galaxy And Turn Left (8.30am, Seven), when the Chief (Bruce Spence) follows Jenny (Kellie Smythe) back to the house, Hecla (Sandy Gore) tricks him into thinking he has captured X (Lauren Hewett, pictured). Sunday AFL includes Geeling v Adelaide (2pm, Seven), live from Geelong, followed by highlights of Richmond v Sydney Swans (5pm, Seven). Sunday night movies are The Silence Of The Lambs (repeat, Seven), Accidental Hero (Nine) and Grand Canyon (Ten).

mikemoore_0002Monday: TVTV (6.30pm, ABC) returns with new hosts Mark Mitchell and Tiffany Lamb. In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Roxy (Lisa Lackey) discovers that Rob (Matthew Lilley) has been playing her for the fool. In Healthy Wealthy And Wise (7.30pm, Ten), Jim Brown visits the dolphins at Monkey Mia, Ronnie Burns goes back to school for a lesson in music, Ross Greenwood looks at a very special form of insurance, and Lyn Talbot checks out the use-by dates on food in the fridge. In the series final of Frontline (8pm, ABC), Mike Moore (Rob Sitch, pictured) needs to find a date for the TV Week Logie Awards. Each of the women he invites is busy, so it looks like Mike may be desperate and dateless on TV’s night of nights.

Tuesday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Cheryl (Caroline Gillmer) compromises for not marrying Lou (Tom Oliver) when she names the baby. In Blue Heelers (7.30pm, Seven), Roz’s (Ann Burbrook) actions could have dire consequences when she gets personally involved with a domestic case. In GP (8.30pm, ABC), when Martin’s (Damian Rice) colleague Keith (Alan Lock) is contacted by his biological mother (Kris McQuade), his world is turned upside down.

Wednesday: In Heartbreak High (7.30pm, Ten), Barry Crocker, Bernard King and Diana Fisher guest star as talent quest judges when Con (Salvatore Coco) talks Jodie (Abi Tucker) into taking part in Star Quest. Margaret Throsby and Charles Southwood host The Young Performers Awards (8.30pm, ABC) from the Concert Hall of the Victorian Arts Centre.

Thursday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Irene (Lynne McGranger) has an unwelcome visitor, while Michael (Dennis Coard) is shocked by the contents of Jack’s (Daniel Amalm) wardrobe. In The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh (8.30pm, ABC), on the eve of the national election, Harvey (Aaron Blabey) unearths a massive electoral fraud.

ianrawlingsjuliemullinsFriday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Philip and Julie (Ian Rawlings and Julie Mullins, pictured) embark on a gender role swap. In Rex Hunt’s The Great Outdoors (7.30pm, Seven), Melissa George shows the popular sport of roller skating and meets up with Australian champion Jayson Sutcliffe, while Penny Cook gets advice on how to do face painting for children, and Monica Trapaga takes a step back in time when she visits Old Sydney Town.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 30 July 1994. Southdown Press

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Aug 05 2014

Seven scores Olympic deal to 2020

7_2000sThe Seven Network today announced it has signed an agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold the broadcasting rights to the Olympic Games through to 2020 — including the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang in 2018, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo in 2020, and the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in two weeks’ time.

The agreement also has an option to be extended to 2024 to include the XXIV Olympic Winter Games in 2022 and the XXXIII Olympic Games in 2024.

The deal delivers free broadcast television and subscription television rights, and expands beyond television to Seven’s digital platforms, including online and Hybrid Broadband Broadcast television. Seven has also secured radio broadcasting rights.

Kerry Stokes, Chairman of Seven West Media, said:

“The Olympic Games has been a key part of Seven’s history and development. I am extraordinarily proud of our long partnership with the IOC and the Olympic movement, and look forward to our partnership with the Olympic Games as we define and build our media presence over the coming decade.”

Tim Worner, CEO of Seven West Media, added:

“We accept this honour on behalf of our audiences. The Olympic Games are a commitment to excellence that invigorates us. In many ways, our connection with the Games has defined our business and our connections with our audiences. We are ready to begin the next step on our journey with the Olympic movement and take the responsibility to provide the Games to all Australians across all forms of delivery platforms.

“The Olympic Games is the greatest show on earth. It will be a remarkable platform for Seven as we continue to move forward as a media company, developing new content and building new businesses which will drive our future as Australia’s leading integrated media and communications business.

“The Olympic Games deliver the biggest audiences and the biggest marketing and advertising partnerships. The marketing of those partnerships with our advertisers begins today. The monetization of our rights begins today.

“We are expanding our significant online presence and will soon unveil more plans for the further delivery of our video and publishing content across an array of delivery platforms, including the forthcoming launch of Hybrid Broadband Broadcast Television which will allow us to strengthen our broadcast television business and extend to one-on-one communications with our mass audiences.

“Everyone knows the media landscape is changing at breakneck speed and the way our coverage of these events is produced and distributed across all platforms to all Australians will be revolutionised in the lifetime of this deal.

“And, if Seven is granted broadcast rights following the exercise of the option for the Games in 2022 and 2024, it will become the longest agreement in Australian Olympic history.

“We take great pride in our partnership with the Olympic Games and the key role it will play in driving home our leadership across our media platforms and our connection with our audiences. We have projects already earmarked and in development for launch on our television platform following the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.”

Thomas Bach, IOC President, said:

“We are delighted that we will work with Seven until at least 2020. The IOC enjoys long term partnerships and this agreement is something of a homecoming between us and Seven. Seven has made a concrete commitment to help promote the Olympic Movement and the Olympic values, not only during each edition of the Games, but all year round, and this was an important consideration in our decision making.”

The Seven Network has broadcast all but three Summer Olympic Games since Melbourne in 1956.

Source:, Seven West Media


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Aug 04 2014

Television.AU August Update

Some non-blog updates for the month.




#061: Division 4

#061: Division 4

Fighting crime in suburban Melbourne rarely required the Division 4 team to board a plane, but one episode which saw the squad on a chase ending up at Moorabbin Airport led to an opportunity for the stars to be taken on a flight over Melbourne after filming was completed. Looking over the cockpit of the Piper Aztec plane before take-off are Division 4 stars Pat Smith, Gerard Kennedy and Terence Donovan.

Picture: TV Week, 4 August 1973



The 50th anniversary of the launch of the first station in what is now the Ten Network was the theme for blog posts during the week ending 1 August:


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Aug 01 2014

Ten: 2000 to now

rovemcmanus[Part V marks the conclusion of this week's tribute to Network Ten on its 50th anniversary. Refer to earlier posts Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV. Network Ten's 50th anniversary special 50 Years Young screens Sunday 3 August, 6.30pm]

The new millennium saw Ten sign up comedian Rove McManus (pictured), whose late night show was not renewed by Nine after its ten-episode run. Ten was to launch Rove Live in October 2000, and it continued through until the end of the decade.

McManus went on to win three TV Week Gold Logies for Most Popular Personality on Australian TV.

theprojectThe success of Rove Live led to McManus’ company Roving Enterprises producing other programs for Ten including Skithouse, Before The Game, Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?, Hamish and Andy specials and The (7PM) Project (pictured).

Digital television was launched across the five major capital cities on 1 January 2001, and a couple of months later Ten embarked on an ambitious new format for Australian TV – Big Brother.

The reality show, based around contestants being filmed while in an enclosed environment with little communication to the outside world, had already been a hit overseas and did much to revive Ten’s 7.00pm timeslot and its weekly eviction shows were ratings hits.

masterchef_0001The Big Brother franchise led to Ten adopting other reality formats, including Australian Idol (Pop Idol), The Biggest Loser, So You Think You Can Dance, The Bachelor and MasterChef (pictured). The success of the genre led to Seven and Nine networks eventually adopting similar programming strategies.

But like with all genres, reality formats carry risk and not all were success stories — The Hothouse, The Resort, The X Factor and Yasmin’s Getting Married never took off.

Drama series Above The Law, starring Alyssa Jane Cook from E Street, was not a huge success but there were better results from the Melbourne-based The Secret Life Of Us. 

offspring_0002White Collar Blue and Rush provided new takes on the police drama genre. Heroes Mountain recreated the 1997 Thredbo mountain disaster. More recent dramas CrashBurn, Puberty Blues, Offspring (pictured) and Wonderland have covered human relationships.

The Society Murders: The True Story of the Wales-King Murders, Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms, Hawke  and Underground: The Julian Assange Story were based on real-life people and events.

Neighbours continues as Australia’s longest running drama series, soon to celebrate its 7000th episode and 30 years on air.

thelivingroomLifestyle show Live This replaced the gap left by Healthy Wealthy And Wise in 2000 but was only to have a short life. A decade later Ten has revisited the genre again with The Living Room (pictured).

Ten became a broadcast partner of AFL in 2002 and adopted premier motor sports events Formula 1 Grand Prix and Bathurst 1000. The network covered the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and is currently covering the 2014 Games from Glasgow.

The 2014 Olympic Winter Games from Sochi marked the network’s first Olympics coverage since the Summer Games in Seoul in 1988.studio10_0001

Good Morning Australia with Bert Newton came to an end in December 2005, replaced by 9AM With David And Kim (2006-2009), The Circle (2010-2012) and Studio 10 (pictured).

The Working Dog team who had produced The Panel had launched their next project, an improvisational comedy called Thank God You’re Here. The format was franchised around the world. The team has since launched a new comedy show, Have You Been Paying Attention?

Ten also had success with game show Talkin’ ’bout Your Generation, hosted by Shaun Micallef and featuring team captains Amanda Keller, Charlie Pickering and Josh Thomas.

Former Australian Idol judge Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson fronted talk show Can Of Worms before handing over the host’s role to former The Circle co-host Chrissie Swan.

11_helloTen was the first Australian commercial network to launch a full-time secondary channel, One HD in March 2009. The then 24 hour sports channel was joined by entertainment-based channel Eleven in January 2011. Longtime Ten programs Neighbours and The Simpsons were then shifted to Eleven.

With the advent of Eleven, Ten sought to expand its demographic reach for its main channel, embarking on its ‘news revolution‘ which included current affairs program 6PM With George Negus (later shifted to 6.30) and additional news bulletins. The strategy was short-lived, as were moves into early morning news with Breakfast and Wake Up.

lachlanmurdochCanadian broadcaster CanWest sold its majority shareholding in Ten in 2009, leading to billionaires James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch (pictured), Gina Rinehart and WIN owner Bruce Gordon investing in the network. This has led to a period of instability at the executive level at Ten. This instability plus the advent of more competition for viewing options and a downturn in the advertising market has led to challenging times for Ten. Plans to relaunch the schedule in late 2012 with new titles like The Shire, Being Lara Bingle, Don’t Tell The Bride and Everybody Dance Now saw ratings dip to record lows — with the network ending the 2013 ratings year in fourth place behind ABC.

The network has seen some recent ratings success from MasterChef and Offspring as well as sports coverage including Big Bash League, 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

ten_50yearsAs it celebrates its 50th anniversary, despite its recent successes Ten is still in a challenging phase. Throughout its past it has shown its ability to rise above adversity — challenging the traditional ratings leadership of its older rivals and bringing innovative formats to the landscape. It will surely do the same again.

50 Years Young, Sunday 3 August, 6.30pm. Network Ten




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